The benefits of school branded lanyards

 

Branded lanyards are used by all types of organisations to promote unity

School branded lanyards don’t just aid security in terms of identification, they can also help to unite pupils and students by promoting a sense of belonging.

Most schools like the idea of bespoke lanyards branded with the school logo, but the idea is often rejected (or not fully researched) due to concerns about cost.

They’re often viewed as a ‘nice to have’, whereas the reality is, school branded lanyards have a role to play both in terms of security and community.

Security benefits

  • They make it difficult for third parties to ‘blend in’ to the school environment.

Whereas it’s easy for someone to source a standard ‘staff’ or ‘visitor’ lanyard so as not to arouse suspicion, it’s extremely difficult for them to create their own branded one.

  • They make students more visible, both on campus and out of campus.

Apart from the ‘truancy’ benefits, school branded lanyards are also helpful for visibility on school trips or days out.

Let’s not forget the parents here either: surveys show that parents particularly value the security and visibility benefits of school custom lanyards.

Promoting a sense of school community

School custom lanyards also help to boost school spirit amongst teaching staff and pupils, and promote a sense of belonging. Print your school’s logo or mascot and use your school colours to create a lanyard that will be worn with pride.

Great for different classes and school clubs

School custom lanyards are also great for school clubs and organisations, where they give a sense of belonging to a select group.

They’re also a great way to identify specific classes or groups within the school, for example junior students and senior students could have different colours.

By creating a different lanyard for senior students or the sixth form, it’s also far more likely that they’ll be worn without complaint. Junior pupils will ‘aspire’ to having one as they move through the school and the sixth form will be happy to have a visible badge of their seniority.

Then there’s the price point…

The price of bespoke school branded lanyards used to make them accessible only by fee-paying schools with considerable budgets. But the cost is coming down all the time. For example 100 school branded lanyards in a single colour start from just £139.05.

Is it becoming easier for schools to embrace biometric technology?

With Paxton recently announcing the integration of biometrics within its Net2 access control system, is one of the main stumbling block for schools – that of cost – about to be negated?

The argument for and against biometrics within schools and educational establishments has been rife for some time now. For many parents and pupils, the argument against implementing biometric measures such as fingerprint or iris scanning centres around the invasion of privacy.

This, and the fact that they make the act of tracking and monitoring of pupil’s movements and behaviour seem ‘normal’.

For the establishments themselves, there is almost always a financial consideration too. Biometrics technology comes at a cost – not just in terms of the technology itself, but also of the administration time needed to turn it into a reality.

For smaller schools with smaller budgets, these considerations mean it just hasn’t been a realistic topic on the agenda.

But is all that set to change?

One of the most popular access systems used by schools, colleges and institutions around the country is the Paxton Net2 system. The reasons for this are many. It’s competitively priced and easy to install and manage. The associated keyfobs, cards or tokens aren’t expensive either, so ongoing costs are kept at a minimum. In short, Paxton are known for their reliability and for being user friendly, without breaking the bank.

Until very recently, if you wanted to bring biometrics in to school, you would most likely need to invest in an entirely new access system.

However Paxton has just announced that Suprema’s industry leading biometric technology is to be integrated into the Paxton Net2 system.

Which means what exactly?

According to Paxton’s press release, this new integration “seamlessly connects Suprema’s biometric access control readers and Paxton’s Net2software”. It means you’ll be able to ‘plug in’ biometric capabilities into your existing Paxton Net2 software, allowing you to enroll users and create ‘biometric tokens’.

It means that the argument against using biometrics due to financial constraints or heavy administration requirements just lost some ground.

Smaller schools who previously rejected the idea as an impossibility may soon be bringing the subject up again for debate.

Let’s not forget the benefits

Biometrics enable ‘true identity’ – a fingerprint or iris/vein scan can’t be borrowed or copied in the way that an ID card can. Then there’s speed and convenience when it’s used in the library to check out books, for example. And the ‘cool’ factor from the perspective of the pupils – it’s fun to scan your finger to pay for your lunch (and it facilitates equality too, as no-one knows who qualifies for free school meals).

But as with all things of this nature, the implementation of such measures needs to be handled with caution, and with proper consultation with parents.

A piece of research published last year by Big Brother Watch based on data from the 2012-13 academic year revealed that an estimated 40% of schools in England are already using biometric systems. It therefore surmised that fingerprints have already been taken from more than one million school pupils; many without their parents’ consent.

Do you think that the integration of biometric technology into the Net2 system will pave the way for biometric measures being more widely used within schools? Let us know what you think.

Read more at https://www.supremainc.com/en/node/1609

Is security in schools about technology or common sense?

Should we turn our schools into fortresses?

Security within schools has always an emotive issue, and given the recent events in Leeds, it’s been thrust centre-stage again.

There has been a tide of articles in the press recently questioning what security processes can be put into place to keep our schools safe. Installing metal detectors and security technology such as locked gates, personal alarm buttons and access control systems are all being discussed, but do we really want our schools to turn into fortresses?

One of the hot topics is naturally concerned with visitors, and how to make sure you don’t receive any unwanted ones.

Do you rely on technology to control visitors, or common sense?

The answer will probably be related to the number of pupils, layout of the school and the funding available. Small primary schools are unlikely to have the budget – or need – for extensive CCTV systems or biometrics access control technology. Others will benefit from having areas within the school that can only be accessed by staff with the right cards, or doors that automatically lock for certain parts of the day.

But what about those who simply don’t have the funds?

A lot of security comes down to common sense

A lot of ways to prevent unauthorised visitors comes down to common sense, which won‘t impact on an already stretched school budget. For example:

– Ensure only one main entrance is in use during school hours

– Keep it locked from the outside, so visitors have to call or ring for entry

– Have the entrance ‘manned’ by a receptionist or secretary at all times

– Make sure all playgrounds can only be accessed from within the school

– All visitors – even parents who are known to the school – should use this main entrance and report to the receptionist/secretary

Have a clear procedure for dealing with visitors

The easiest way to deal with visitors is to issue school visitor passes or contractor passes to all individuals, regardless of the purpose of their visit or how well known they are to the staff.

It’s important to adopt a one rule for all stance – if you break the rules for one visitor, your staff will lose faith in the procedure.

School visitor passes usually come as part of a ‘system’ that allows you to record visit date, name, host, company and vehicle information. All these details are held on a discreet bottom sheet, whilst pre-numbered passes are handed to the individuals. This creates a future reference sheet and a current fire register, which meets your health and safety obligations.

Some processes to follow:

– Ensure ALL visitors wear a badge clearly identifying them as such

– Make sure the badge is visible at all times

– Give all visitors information about fire evacuation procedures, child protection procedures and any other relevant health & safety information

– Allocate a person who will be responsible for them during their visit

– Ensure that visitors can’t wander around the school on their own – either bring the allocated person to reception to pick them or escort them to their contact

– If in any doubt, ask for a form of ID before handing out the visitor’s badge.

Make sure all staff are briefed on your policy

One of the reasons security processes fall-down is because not everyone is aware of the policy. Make sure all staff know that every visitor should be clearly identified as such, and give them permission to challenge anyone they don’t know within the school if they aren’t accompanied or wearing school visitors passes.

School visitor passes can be bought off the shelf, or customised to your own branding. You could choose to include specific school health and safety information for example.

Deter opportunists

Whilst these measures won’t be able to prevent tragedies like Ann McGuire’s death from happening again, they will put off those opportunists who look for open doors or unmanned reception desks. They are an important way of safeguarding our children during a normal day at school.

 

Biometrics in schools: big win or big brother?

“If you don’t know the password you can’t come in.”

It’s a phrase often heard in school playgrounds up and down the country, as children play games with their friends.

But frankly, passwords could soon be irrelevant if biometrics continue to take off in the way that they have.

A piece of research carried out by Big Brother Watch based on data from the 2012-13 academic year, and published earlier this year, revealed that an estimated 40% of schools in England are using biometric systems. It therefore surmised that fingerprints have already been taken from more than one million school pupils; many without their parents consent.

These fingerprints are the necessary ‘password’ to access many of the school’s services, from paying for their lunch to checking out a library book.

The argument ‘for’

biometrics in schools
One upside can be the increase in library books being checked out

Supporters of using biometrics in schools are quick to point out a number of benefits. The most obvious one being security – a fingerprint can’t be copied or lost in the way that an ID card can. Then there’s the speed and convenience: no more queues at a card scanner when arriving at school or rummaging around for coins, holding everyone up, at lunchtime.

Let’s not forget the ‘cool’ factor in all of this as well. Opponents to fingerprinting in schools tend to be the parents, not the kids themselves, who generally welcome the idea, and look forward to the whole ‘sci-fi’ deal that goes with it.

One of the unexpected benefits was found in the library. Some schools reported a big jump in books being borrowed – the kids liked using the fingerprint scanner so they took out more books. Always having the means to check out a book ‘on them’ meant they were more likely to do so.

The solution also helps to ensure equality at meal times. With everyone using their fingerprint to ‘buy’ their lunch, it’s impossible to tell who qualifies for free school meals, which means no-one is singled out.

The argument against

For all its supporters, there are certainly those who are passionately against the use of biometrics. The concerns range from worries over privacy and the ability to ‘steal’ and misappropriate personal data, to the fact that these systems normalise the act of tracking and monitoring pupil’s behaviour.

Some of those responding to the report released by Big Brother Watch talk about the danger of biometric information lying on a database somewhere, at the mercy of hackers or lost by those clumsy enough to leave a laptop on a train. Biometrics providers are quick to point out that records of the actual fingerprint aren’t stored; rather it is encrypted into a series of digits. This is what’s used to confirm ID against the fingerprint presented.

One comment, left by Anonymous, sums up the concerns around privacy in the future:

Future generations will not have any privacy or know what it is like to have privacy if we do not stop the erosion of privacy now… Yes it might be easier for kids to provide a fingerprint to get a library book out now but can they really be sure that it won’t come back to bite them in the future removing any possibilities of choice and privacy that they might want?”

The Freedom of Information Act

One of Big Brother Watch’s major issues is the fact that as many as 31% of the fingerprints were taken without gaining consent from the parents. With the introduction of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, which was passed in 2013, this should be a thing of the past.

The legal framework states that colleges and schools must follow these rules for biometric recognition systems:

– For all pupils in schools and colleges under 18, they must obtain the written consent of a parent before they take and process their child’s biometric data.

– They must treat the data with appropriate care and must comply with data protection principles as set out in the Data Protection Act 1998.

– They must provide alternative means for accessing services where a parent or pupil has refused consent.

A moot point for many schools

Let’s not forget that installing a biometric system doesn’t come cheap, so it simply won’t be realistic within some school’s budgets. But for those who can afford it, what will be the real price?

You can read the full Big Brother Watch report here

Does your school use a biometric solution? What kind of feedback have you had from parents and the children themselves? We’d love to know what you think.

One password your kids can’t memorise

Samsung are the latest to add a biometrics feature onto their new smartphone.

Galaxy S5 smartphone
New biometrics feature authenticates mobile payments

The Galaxy S5, which is currently available to pre-order, will feature a fingerprint scanner in the same way as the Apple iPhone 5 does, with the main button on the front doubling as a scanner to unlock the device.

The security feature won’t just help to protect the phone from unwanted access if it’s lost or stolen, it can also be used to authenticate payments, as Samsung has partnered with Paypal to offer ‘payment-by-finger’.

That’s one way to stop the kids from buying something they shouldn’t on your Ebay account.

Is biometrics the future in mobile payments?

This new feature is a talking point, but can we expect this type of techology to become commonplace?

Mobile payments as a concept is proving to be slower to catch on here than was predicted. Market analysts have been saying ‘this is the year’ for nearly a decade, but in the US, only 3-7% of consumers currently use their phones to buy goods in a shop.

Mobile banking is popular, but actually making a mobile payment, for example paying your bill in a restaurant via PayPal, is taking a while to get off the ground. But making person-to-person transactions via your mobile phone is growing, and nearly twice as many consumers are using mobile payments now than they did last year.

Is biometrics the stumbling block?

The kids don’t mind

There is still a real reticence amongst consumers about the use of biometrics technology, particularly when it comes to payments. Iris scanners, fingerprint scanners and even the newer palm & vein scanners all generate concerns that primarily revolve around privacy and the potential for misappropriation of data.

Those with a darker side worry about the lengths thieves might go to in order to steal your biometrics password: severed fingers, gouged-out eyeballs etc.

But is it merely a generation thing?

For those who have grown-up with the technology, a fingerprint scanner is commonplace. The fact that it’s now part of the latest smartphones makes it part of the furniture. Much in the way that they’re used to being able to stop and rewind live TV (“you mean there was a time when you couldn’t?”), it will become normal to authenticate payments with their own body.

School rules ok?

Many schools, particularly in the US, are looking into biometrics methods to ensure the safety and security of their students. A biometric solution brings a whole host of advantages in terms of access control. Unlike smart cards that can be passed around, stolen or misused, a fingerprint can’t.

There is naturally caution over the introduction of such a system, but most opposition comes from the school administration and parents – not the kids themselves.

After all, using the fingerprint scanner on your smartphone to pay for lunch, take out library books and get in the building isn’t just convenient, it’s kinda cool.

Get used to it, it’s the future

As the oft-quoted Douglas Adams said, in describing our reactions to technologies:

1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

So it’s only a matter of time.

Printed Mifare cards now available

 

Genuine mifare cards printed
Choose from a range of options and security features on your printed Mifare cards

The Card Network now provides double-sided print on Mifare Classic 1K and 4k chip cards.

This new printing service offers businesses, schools and organisations the flexibility to brand their printed Mifare cards, and choose from a range of features including numbering, variable text, signature panels, barcodes, as well as encoded & unencoded magnetic stripes.

Why use printed Mifare cards?

Mifare cards use NXP-Semiconductors trademarked chips, which are widely used in contactless smart cards and proximity cards. Thanks to their reliability and low cost, the cards are used by all kinds of organisations for different applications.

Printed Mifare cards are commonly used for access control, ticketing, transportation and as a smart ‘wallet’

Schools and colleges commonly choose printed Mifare cards because they’re capable of many functions. As well as being used for access control (for entry to the library for example) they can also be used for cashless vending (where a student ‘swipes’ for their lunch), to check out library books, or to access the computer system.

Printed Mifare cards are also well suited to environments where a low level of security is required. Sports clubs often use them as a means of allowing members to enter the locker rooms, and because they can also allow them to access their account at the bar.

The cards also act as perfect tickets – use them as season membership cards for example, and swipe them to get through the turnstile at a football match. They’re also widely used by transport providers as electronic tickets.

Genuine chips, high quality print

All the cards we supply contain genuine NXP Mifare chips: we don’t sell compatibles from the Far East. Our modern print set up doesn’t use surface print, so both the card and chip remain safe under the laminate overlay.

The chips in the card are supplied unencoded. If you have any special requirements for your printed Mifare cards, or you’re not sure which type to order, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss your project. All our prices include design and artwork.

250 full colour, double-sided 1K printed Mifare cards start from £399.00.

 

The benefits of custom printed visitor passes

How do you currently manage visitors in your organisation or school? If you’re in the majority, you’ll probably use a paper visitor pass system, where visitors sign-in to a visitor book and are given a visitor badge to wear around their person. This makes them easy to identify, and also ensures you are meeting your health and safety obligations.

Custom printed visitor passes can improve security further

Custom printed visitor passes make it harder for a third-party to ‘blend-in’.

Standard visitor pass systems are readily available, and are used by many organisations and establishments. Which means a third-party can easily get their hands on a standard ‘visitors’ badge, and also a standard ‘visitors’ lanyard. But they can’t so easily access a branded version.

Branding your visitor passes makes it far more difficult for a third-party to replicate them, and therefore makes it more difficult for them to gain entry.

Portray a professional image

Having custom printed visitor passes also presents a more professional image to visitors. A ‘branded welcome’ is always going to impress visitors more – whether you’re a company or a school that has parents or school officials visiting.

Personalise your passes further

As well as branding your custom printed visitor passes with your logo or corporate information, you can also include other relevant information. For example, you could include health and safety regulations specific to that location, or fire evacuation details. You might want to list items that are prohibited onsite for contractors, or highlight different access rights.

Interested in custom printed visitor passes? Please contact us for a quote.

 

School custom lanyards boost school spirit

School custom lanyards don’t just aid security in terms of identification, they can also help to unite pupils and students by promoting a sense of belonging.

Custom printed school lanyard
Increase security & foster a sense of belonging at the same time

If you’ve been tasked with re-stocking the shelves with school lanyards, don’t just default to the standard ones before you’ve considered the benefits of custom designed.

School custom lanyards aren’t as expensive as you might think and have a number of benefits. Along with school ID cards, they help with identification and security. They make students more visible for a start, and whereas it’s easy for a third party to source a standard ‘staff’ or ‘student’ lanyard to blend in, it’s extremely difficult for them to create their own branded one.

They’re also a great way to identify specific classes or groups within the school, for example junior students and senior students could have different colours.

Let’s not forget the parents here either: surveys show that parents particularly value the security and visibility benefits of school custom lanyards.

Promote a sense of school community

School custom lanyards also help to boost school spirit amongst teaching staff and pupils. Print your school’s logo or mascot and use your school colours to create a lanyard that can be worn with pride.

By creating a different lanyard for senior students or the sixth form, it’s also far more likely that they’ll be worn without complaint. Junior pupils will ‘aspire’ to having one as they move through the school and the sixth form will be happy to have a visible badge of their seniority.

School custom lanyards are also great for school clubs and organisations, where they give a sense of belonging to a select group.

500 school custom lanyards designed to your own specification start from just £252.00.

 

Safeguarding with school ID cards: Deyes High School

All schools have a responsibility to provide a secure and safe environment for pupils, staff and visitors. Pupils need to feel safe, parents need to be confident that procedures are in place to safeguard their children and staff need to feel that everything has been done to make the working environment a safe place to work.

But this doesn’t mean putting up expensive security barriers or other costly access systems – a lot can be achieved through common sense and by investing in some cost-effective paper or card solutions.

School ID cards help to improve security

Many primary and secondary schools are now looking into printing school ID cards for staff and pupils. As well as improving security by identifying the wearer and whether they have the right to access the building, school ID cards also promote a sense of community.

Deyes High School in Liverpool saw the benefits of school ID cards back in 2010. They contacted us in the early part of the year about the best way to print ID cards in-house, when they needed to.

We recommended a Pronto printer with the right software to help them easily and quickly print school ID cards throughout the year. As promoting the community of the school was also important to them, they also had some custom lanyards printed with their own branding and school colours – something that parents in particular always appreciate.

The following year, Deyes High School upgraded their entry-level plastic card printer to the Evolis Dualysis printer – capable of much more powerful performance, and continue to order consumables from us.

A different look for sixth form

Custom printed lanyards don’t just help to unite the school together; they also act as a visual identification. Deyes High School ordered some custom lanyards in 2011 specifically for their sixth form students – making it easy to identify pupils from a distance.

100 custom printed lanyards, printed to your own design start from just £130.20.

Search our range of school ID cards or plastic card printer packages.

Keep your secure access control cards secure

Card identity theft is growing. It’s contactless debit cards that have hit the news recently – and how easy it is for identity thieves to capture personal data if they have the right technology to hand.

But what about your ‘secure’ access control cards? Could the data on these be cloned too?

In some cases, the answer is most certainly yes.

Cotag access control card
Stop thieves cloning your access control cards with rigid card holders

Keep your secure areas secure

The cloning of access control cards and key fobs presents a significant security risk.

An unattended bag in a nearby café or a visible wallet on a crowded commuter train – both present an opportunity to someone looking to steal your data or identity information.

There are obviously technology options out there to maintain higher access control security through increased encoding, but these can be cost-prohibitive, and take time to install.

One highly cost-effective way to address the issue now is to use plastic card protectors.

A simple and easy way to protect your access control cards

Rigid card protectors secure personal information on any RFID smart card including the popular MIFARE and iClass cards. A layer of transparent rigid shielded material prevents unauthorised access to the data held, without impacting on performance.

So wherever your access control card is, as long as it’s in its holder, the data on it is protected.  

Giving one to all of your staff, and enforcing its use means you significantly reduce the risk of unauthorised access to your building – and secure areas.

If you’re interested in these card protectors for your business, please get in touch with us.

Read more about the risks to your credit and debit card data here.